Benefit advice

We can help with a whole host of issues, from Universal Credit, overpayments, maximising your benefits to increase your household finances, support with debts, grant and discretionary housing applications.

We offer free benefit and debt advice for all our tenants. To contact one of our specialists, email wellbeing@redkitehousing.org.uk to receive a quick call for support.

If you'd like to carry out your own assessment to see what you're entitled, you can use calculators available online.

You can find benefits calculators, or visit GOV.UK for information about benefit eligibility, appeals, tax credits and Universal Credit.

Managed migration - the move to Universal Credit

The government have begun their managed migration programme to move people claiming benefits onto Universal Credit (UC). This is a five-year programme - it will not happen overnight! - but it's important to understand how and when this may affect you, if you currently claim one or more of these six means-tested benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Working Tax Credits.

These are called legacy benefits.

UC is not replacing any other benefits, such as pension-age Housing Benefit, Housing Benefit in special accommodation, or Council Tax Support.

The managed migration programme will start in Buckinghamshire this month, December 2023. If you are currently claiming child tax credits and/or working tax credits only, you will get a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), called a Universal Credit migration notice or stop notice, explaining that these benefits will be ending.

The letter will ask you to apply for UC (or Pension Credit if you are over 65). You will need to make a new claim for UC within three months of receiving this notice. You will be sent a reminder two weeks before the deadline, but you should start your new claim as soon as possible after receiving your stop notice letter.

Please do not ignore this letter. If you are in receipt of tax credits this will stop immediately at the date specified in your stop notice.

We have put together some answers to frequently asked questions about managed migration:

No. Although this process is called ‘managed migration’, you won’t move over onto Universal Credit automatically. You will need to make a claim for Universal Credit within three months of receiving written notice that your existing legacy benefits will be ending.

You should start your new claim as soon as possible after receiving your stop notice letter. If you do miss the deadline, you can still make a claim for up to one calendar month after the deadline date and get full UC backdated to the deadline date. If you do not make a claim for over a month after the deadline, you will miss out on UC payments.

If you think you won’t be able to claim UC by the deadline date, you should contact the Universal Credit Migration Notice helpline as soon as possible. They may give you more time to make a claim if you have a good reason. You must request this before the deadline date on your letter.

UC is only replacing the six means-tested legacy benefits listed above. It is not replacing any other benefits such as Carer’s Allowance, council tax support, or Disability Living Allowance/Personal Independence Payment.

Because you get Housing Benefit - another legacy benefit - you are not a tax credits-only claimant. You won’t need to claim UC until sometime in 2024 or 2025. You will receive more information about this nearer the time.

Under UC, some people are better off, but others will be worse off - but if you get a Migration Notice letter you do not have a choice!

So long as you claim Universal Credit before the three-month deadline (or any agreed extension), you’ll be eligible for transitional protection payments. These payments will top up your UC if it’s less than you were getting from your legacy benefits.

If you do not claim by the deadline (or any agreed extension), you will not be eligible for transitional protection payments. This is the same even if you claim UC at a later date.

The government have been encouraging people to make a 'voluntary' move to UC, as they think this could make many households better off.

There’s also a social media campaign by the DWP to 'suggest' people move to UC voluntarily.

You should get independent advice before deciding to move voluntarily to UC. Online benefit calculators may help you to work out if you will be better off, but they can be misleading as the personal circumstances for each claimant can be complex.

To continue to receive financial support, you will need to claim UC by the deadline stated in your Migration Notice letter, even if you have just renewed your tax credits claim.

Citizens Advice have Help to Claim advisers who can help you with the early stages of your Universal Credit claim. You can talk to them on the phone, or online over chat.

The government have also listed a range of support services available to help you prepare for your move to Universal Credit.

Find out more